(1:40 p.m. EDT) -- For 2019, Scenic Cruises will redesign eight ships in its European river cruise fleet, reducing the passenger count, adding suites and expanding the wellness centers to incorporate a salt lounge.
Scenic already made these changes on the ships in its French fleet, Scenic Diamond and Scenic Sapphire. The refurbishments for the 2019 season will take place on the remaining "space ships" sailing the Rhine, Danube and Main rivers: Scenic Ruby, Pearl, Jasper, Opal, Amber, Crystal, Jade and Jewel.
The number of passengers on Ruby and Pearl will drop from 167 to 161, while the rest of the ships will carry 165 travelers instead of the current 169; crew counts will stay the same. Two new 520-square-foot Owner's Suites will be added on all ships. In addition, the wellness centers will be expanded with larger spas, a salon, a fitness center and -- unique to Scenic -- a salt therapy lounge.
All of the ships will have active excursions in 2019. They also will carry e-bikes and have an onboard wellbeing coach who will lead daily yoga and stretching sessions.
--By Chris Gray Faust, Managing Editor